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Dubai Launches Marine Agency to Regulate Dhow Sector
PCFC initiative to promote the role of dhows in reinforcing trade
The Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), in cooperation with Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), have launched the Marine Agency to oversee wooden dhow ships and regulate all their activities while they’re in Dubai waters.
The agency is an organizational unit managed by PCFC and works according to regulations in coordination with the competent government authorities.
Dubai is a key destination for dhow ships carrying various types of merchandise and goods from several MENA region countries.
Each year, dhows transport over 720,000 tonnes of goods. The move also aims to consolidate the safety and security of dhows in Dubai waters.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem Chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said: “Responsibilities of the Marine Agency will not be limited to following up on transactions and collecting fees.
"Rather, its main responsibility will be to develop the current dhow trade sector by proposing legislations and regulations to develop their operations to gradually use electronic services and smart trade solutions to expedite the procedures.
"The agency is also responsible for looking after the interests of the dhow owners and ensuring the safety, security and rights of seafarers while in Dubai.”
“Since the establishment of Dubai, dhows have played a distinguished role in its trade. Our ancestors used dhows to travel the world and bring all kinds of goods, food, and life necessities.
"However, the glamour of giant cargo ships made people forget dhows and their important role in trade. At PCFC, we are reviving and strengthening this sector by establishing the Marine Agency, which will facilitate entry and exit of dhows and their crew as well as complete their procedures at the competent government authorities.
"The agency will also be responsible for protecting the rights of local dhow owners and taking care of foreign dhows. They will all have one point of contact to take care of their affairs and respond to their concerns to facilitate their business in Dubai."
The Marine Agency will be the only entity responsible for dealing with dhows during their presence in Dubai waters. It will collect fees, wages and expenses due to the concerned government authorities from dhow owners or operators and pay them on their behalf.
The agency will also monitor seafarers’ work as dhows are docked at the ports and harbours until they depart. The agency will coordinate with the relevant government authorities on marine safety of dhows, and coordinate with the competent authorities in case of any marine accidents or emergencies.
The agency will also implement transparency of service fee applicable to local traders, and will be responsible for several services including cargo handling, ensuring goods safety and damage control during discharge/loading, and berth booking, among others.